Photo: Toyota Racing Series
Lynn and Cassidy the big winners in TRS round three as rivals Auer and Serralles struggle, while Bonifacio and Schothorst impress too as top six close up with two weekends to go…
Lucas Auer looked set to keep his Toyota Racing Series lead after the first two races at Taupo, but a collision with Steijn Schothorst in race three cost him dearly, allowing title defendant Nick Cassidy to pass him in the standings.
Neither of them happened to be the quickest man at the track, as that honour surely belongs to Alex Lynn, who eased to a double pole in qualifying.
The first race was mostly devoid of drama, as Lynn cruised to a dominant victory, encountering little resistance from Cassidy and Schothorst, who completed the podium. Auer recorded a decent fifth, losing out to Bruno Bonifacio in what turned out to be a crucial position for race two, while title contender Felix Serralles suffered a puncture early on in the race that didn’t allow him to finish higher than 16th.
As determined by the random draw, Bonifacio got the reverse grid pole, with Schothorst alongside him. The two spent the race in absolute control, with the Brazilian barely edging out the Dutchman for victory, as the rest of the field crossed the line more than ten seconds behind. It was Auer who completed the podium, overtaking Cassidy with three laps to go, as Lynn had a difficult race after spinning on the first lap, recovering his way to eighth.
The disappointment of race two did not wear too much on the Brit, who, once again, drove a superb race to take an undisputed victory that rounded up the weekend. Again, Cassidy finished in second and, with Auer’s accident placing him a lap down, took the lead in the championship. Bonifacio was third this time, although Schothorst was right there behind him, the two men scoring crucial points in their pursuit of Serralles, whose lacklustre weekend put him in a vulnerable third in the standings, with Lynn, Schothorst and Bonifacio all within 25 points away.
PaddockScout Driver of the Weekend: Bruno Bonifacio – a toss-up between him, Schothorst and Lynn, but the Brazilian’s weekend in the end just had the better mistakes to accomplishments ratio. His maiden win in the series, though a result of a luck-based reverse-grid pole, was a masterful demonstration of dominant driving, while he also managed to add plenty to his points tally in the other two races.
Next weekend: More Toyota Racing Series action, as the championship heads to Hampton Downs for its penultimate round.